Day 1 - 3
18.12.2016 - 21.12.2016 30 °C
Day 1 - 18/12/16 Caves Beach en route to Chennai
We drove down to Rockdale, dropped Ducati with the young Browns and after a tearful farewell from Dom, Fiona dropped us at the airport.
I received an email on the drive down to Sydney, from our accomodation in chennai saying that they had had to cancel our booking du to a plumbing issue. They offered us alternative accommodation at a lower rate around the corner but we were set on Footprint B &B so I wrote back and asked nicely if the couldn't get one of the other guests to go to the other premises. They said they would see what they could do.
Being late on a Sunday night nothing much was open. We tried to get a new lonely planet but all they had was a South India version for $38 which we thought was exorbitant. We should be able to get it cheaper duty free or in India.
The MH flight left on time and off we go on another crazy Indian Holiday.
Day 2 - 19/12/16 en route to and arriving at Chennai
The flight to KL was uneventful, if somewhat cramped. We arrived on time at about 3:30 am and after a walk around a deserted transit hub, unable to get a bed at the hotel, we found a couple of unoccupied, sparsely padded benches and settled down to " sleep" off the 6 hour wait for our onward flight. At least we were horizontal and we could stretch out. The multiple overhead LED lights glaring down at us were a bit disconcerting but it was better than nothing.
Carol enjoying the comforts of the airport hotel
Maybe we are getting a bit old for this! I guess time will tell in that regard. We did note, however that we were not quite as comfortable as we were on the cruise.
Once the airport started to get more active, it was impossible to sleep and we arose at about 7:00 and repaired to Starbucks for coffee and half a croissant.
After prowling around to find clean toilets, we freshened up and attempted to buy the LP book. However the price had risen to $49, so we decided to stick with what we already had.
We boarded our next MH flight at about 9:30am but it didn't take off until about 10:00.
After another uneventful flight (who really wants an eventful one?!!!) we landed at Chennai International airport at about 11:00 local time. We are 4.5 hours behind Sydney time.
The approach was over such typical Indian countryside. I noted a large quarry partly filled with water but apparently still being worked. As we got closer to town, there were those somewhat dilapidated streets and buildings but as always lots of vibrant colours and busy traffic. Yes we are back in grotty but wonderful India.
Coming out of the airport terminal (which we thought was pretty quiet) we were accosted by the usual taxi touts etc but we espied the metro station and decided that we would see whether that would get us anywhere near where we wanted to be.
We were advised that Little Mount was the closest station so we purchased some tokens (R80) and hopped aboard the train. It was the cleanest, coolest, emptiest train we have ever seen in India or anywhere for that matter. In fact there was only one other person on it. The reason soon became clear. It doesn't appear to go anywhere useful yet!
We alighted at Little Mount and some helpful ladies negotiated a fare of R200 in a tuk tuk and that's how we finally arrived at Footprint B & B.
Indian traffic hasn't changed it was an exciting, terrifying and funny ride. Like dodgem cars only the object is to get as close as possible without actually touching. You must also have one hand on the horn at all times and it is not necessary or advisable to use indicators. To do warns other drivers where you want to go and the, just try to get there before you.
This turned out to be really nice just as Agnes told us. Our host, Rucha welcomed us with a nice cup of tea and lots of advice on what to see, where to eat etc.
We had noted that everywhere we looked there were trees uprooted and electric and telephone wire down. There has been a cyclone come through a couple of days ago and the place was devastated. It will be some time before everything is OK.
We went for a walk in the afternoon, no mean feat what with the trees and wires down all over the place and motorbikes either parked or riding on "footpaths".
Coffee and cake at Chammiers Eco Cafe. This was after we spent some time admiring the exquisite clothing in the shop below.
And then after a visit to the supermarket for water, an exploratory walk home through the damage and traffic. We ate a nice pasta at Panry d'or, then home for shuteye.
Day 3 - 20/12/16 - Chennai
Had breakfast with Mike and Linda from Cape Town. We are doing the Peacock walking tour with them tomorrow.
Our day was spent walking up TTK to St Georges Cathedral then back to Narda Gana Sabha For lunch and wonderful indian music session.
A cheap and delicious lunch
Indian jam session
Then we asked a tuk tuk to take us to St Thomas Church. But he got it wrong and took us to a church on the southern side of the Adyar at Elliot Beach. When worked out what had happened we took another tuk tuk to the correct location. The bones of the doubting Thomas apostle are said to be buried here. Only Spain and Rome have similar claims.
A hairy tuk tuk ride got us back to our neighbourhood for supermarketing, dinner at Pantry D'Or and bed at 8:30. Very tiring day.
The going rate for tuk tuk seems to be R200.